This is a question I've had--and something that disturbs me very much. Why are our teachings about the soul after death so vague and varying? Is there really a such thing as tollhouses? If so, I find that highly disheartening and despairing. You mean to tell me that once I croak I still won't finally get to see God and have some sense of peace but will have to be flown in the air and accused at twenty different houses? Without even getting to plead my case before the big guy once? I thought that only God could judge, but He permits demons to judge us? This whole concept seems to undermine God's grace and further separate Him from us. What's the whole point of living Orthodox then if there's no possible way I'll be able to defend myself twenty times purely based on whether I confessed those sins or did good deeds to cancel them out. So why even try living Orthodox if I still end up in Hades at the end?
Secondly, what does the Church teach about suicide victims? Is it true that they cannot be buried and have an Orthodox funeral? That seems kind of harsh--both on the victim for totally rejecting him, and on the family for leaving them with even more stress of now having to deal with the body and funeral. Wouldn't this lead to more problems? If the Church doesn't give them a funeral, then most families are probably going to get some weirdo Las Vegas multi-religion got-my-license-online minister guy who will practice heresy. Also, do the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox have different views about these things?